Would you prefer free beer or freedom?


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  • Would you prefer free beer or freedom?

    1. 1. Would you prefer free beer or freedom? Dr Ian Brown
    2. 2. Overview <ul><li>Open source licenses </li></ul><ul><li>Free beer </li></ul><ul><li>Freedom </li></ul>
    3. 3. Open source licenses <ul><li>Must code and derivatives be freely available and modifiable? </li></ul><ul><li>Free licenses – Berkeley, Gnu Public License, Library GPL </li></ul><ul><li>Open source is a “ cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches” –Steve Ballmer </li></ul><ul><li>Microsoft “shared source” </li></ul>
    4. 4. Overview <ul><li>Open source licenses </li></ul><ul><li>Free beer </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Free software </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is free software cheaper? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is free software more secure? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who wants security anyway? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Freedom </li></ul>
    5. 5. Free beer
    6. 6. Is OSS cheaper? <ul><li>Need to take into account Total Costs of Ownership, not just licenses. Windows monopoly means support, user training, compatibility etc may all be more pricey for OSS </li></ul><ul><li>But also provides leverage against commercial vendors: “sets a signal for more competition in the software market” –Munich’s mayor, who was offered 35% off by MS CEO (salesman now joined Dark Side) </li></ul><ul><li>Avoids lock-in and makes future tenders more competitive. Compatible apps e.g. Star Office are available </li></ul>
    7. 7. Is OSS more secure? <ul><li>Virus writers like to target widely deployed operating systems and applications – Windows monoculture </li></ul><ul><li>Inexplicable security design choices by MS </li></ul><ul><li>“ Many eyes make all bugs shallow”? </li></ul><ul><li>“ The security assurance problem scales in a way that making it either easier, or harder, to find attacks, will help attackers and defendants equally” –Ross Anderson </li></ul>
    8. 8. Who wants security? <ul><li>Security = large expenses, reduced functionality, delayed product releases, annoyed users </li></ul><ul><li>Insecurity = occasional bad press, and maybe some users switching to competitors' products </li></ul><ul><li>Liability for software vendors only way to fix this problem – Bruce Schneier </li></ul><ul><li>Possible advantage here for commercially-backed software! </li></ul>
    9. 9. Overview <ul><li>Open source licenses </li></ul><ul><li>Free beer </li></ul><ul><li>Freedom </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cryptography: SIGINT, PGP vs. Lotus Notes & browsers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Democracy-critical applications: e-voting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Free markets: innovation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not a panacea: Red Flag Linux </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. Signals intelligence <ul><li>Echelon: UKUSA alliance </li></ul><ul><li>Frenchelon </li></ul><ul><li>Multinationals </li></ul>“ We steal secrets with espionage, with communications, with reconnaissance satellites” –James Woolsey
    11. 11. Cryptography <ul><li>Pretty Good Privacy </li></ul><ul><li>Lotus Notes </li></ul><ul><li>GSM </li></ul><ul><li>NSAKEY </li></ul>
    12. 12. e-voting <ul><li>CEO of Diebold “ committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ is the counting of votes – a fundamental of democracy – something you want to take on faith?” – New York Times </li></ul><ul><li>Should critical e-voting procedures be trade secrets? </li></ul>
    13. 13. Innovation <ul><li>Network effects in software already create strong push towards monopolies </li></ul><ul><li>Free software prevents strategic competition using software </li></ul><ul><li>Interoperability a bonus rather than an occasional grudging concession </li></ul><ul><li>New anti-trust mechanism? </li></ul>
    14. 14. Red Flag Linux <ul><li>Linux internationalised for Chinese market </li></ul><ul><li>Does not mean Chinese surfers can access banned Web sites such as bbc.co.uk </li></ul><ul><li>Encryption software can be run, but encrypted communications may well be detected </li></ul>
    15. 15. Conclusions <ul><li>Critical criteria of free software are publicly-available and modifiable code and restriction on derivative licenses </li></ul><ul><li>“ Free” software is not gratis and may not be much cheaper than commercial programs… </li></ul><ul><li>… but its libre nature can be a genuine force for freedom , although not a panacea </li></ul>
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